Stress has rapidly become an expected part of life, a necessary evil with which we all have to contend in our fast-paced society and lifestyle. There are drugs to manage it, therapists trained to assist you with it, healing modalities professing to reduce or clear it, classes that teach how to live with it.
The response to this stress-filled culture ranges from denial to resistance, to reluctant acceptance, to pride in how much stress one is under – a collection of badges worn proudly for all to see! – and everything in between.
I’d like to offer another perspective……
Let’s consider stress as an indication of much-needed change or a pre-cursor to growth. As we move forward in the journey of our life, we are continually challenged to grow, change, find new solutions to old problems, re-examine our cultural, societal, political, religious values, etc. If you look back at the history of mankind, the changes we have made are incredible! Did they come easily? I’d have to say no! Was there some stress involved? Most likely yes!
Consider a steel girder as a symbol of something that would seem immovable, unchangeable, solid as a rock, for instance the stress you are under right now! – the pressure required to bend or break it is immense. It would take the stress of an earthquake or explosion to buckle or change it’s form, or would it?
The stress we are experiencing now, both individually and as a human race, is undeniably real and seemingly increasing on a daily basis. However, how we deal with or approach it is something that is within our control, a choice we can make.
Resistance, fear, anger, denial are not ideal vibrations for managing the energy of stress. Rather than solve the problem of stress, these energy vibrations will simply hold the stress in place and allow for more stress to be layered on top thus adding to the burden.
Approaching the energy of stress from the perspective of growth and change can allow us to release fear and resistance – vibrations of energy that more often than not lead to pain and damage physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally – and instead move forward with grace, strength and flexibility.
Martial arts masters and teachers will instruct students how to roll or fold into a fall to minimize injury. This method of non-resistant, controlled movement can be applied in all areas of life, including the management of stress.
Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga and Meditation are all practices that teach how to both strengthen and stretch at the same time, how to find balance between opposing forces – yin and yang.
Where do you need to strengthen and where do you need to be more flexible? What are you holding that you could choose to let go of, that would free up space for movement, growth and change?
The next time you start to feel “stressed”, take a deep breath and look for the source of that stress. If this is not immediately apparent, take another deep breath and recognize that the pressure you are feeling is in fact the result of energy arising from a person, an event, a mental image picture you are being the effect of, or perhaps some programming that would have you respond in a particular manner.
This will allow you to begin separating from the energy of that stressor and perhaps recognize that what seems impossible to change or move, is in fact completely changeable!
Photos courtesy of stock.xchng and flickr.